Since 1995 Sully Erna has been fronting Godsmack, earning an iconic status as one of hard rock’s leading frontmen.
But his 2010 solo album “Avalon” — which dips into more ethereal, atmospheric and world music styles — shows a decidedly different side, or sides, of Erna’s musical ambitions.
“There’s a lot of different musical backgrounds that I have,” says the Massachusetts-based Erna, 43. “People have only known me as this big, raw, tough kind of rock singer, and now they’re starting to see, like, ‘Oh, wow, he can sing differently. He can play piano ... ,’ and I think when they see it and they hear it, they’re shocked. But I don’t think it’s like, ‘Oh, I hate this! What is he doing up there?!’ I think they’re going, ‘Wow, this is so different, but it’s good music.’
“And that’s all we cared about, writing great music for the people. I want this project to be about the music, not about how many good-looking people you have in the band or how high your flames are or how high someone can jump off the drum riser. This is simply about the music.”
Erna plans his solo work to be a going concern, but he promises that Godsmack — which is co-headlining this summer’s Mayhem Tour — will remain active.
“I love Godsmack,” Erna says. “I enjoy being that as well, but I can’t be that all the time anymore. If I’d continue to just do Godsmack, I’d feel like my soul is dying because there’s so much inside of me, and if I don’t have a chance to vent those other creative emotions, I’d feel like I’m useless.
“I want to be able to score movies. I want to be able to act. I want to just continuously feed my creative side and do the things I feel passionate about and think I can do well. So I need all of it to balance myself or I’ll just be sitting at home crawling out of my skin.”
Sully Erna performs at 8 p.m. Friday, June 3, at Sound Board in the MotorCity Casino, 2901 Grand River Blvd., Detroit. Tickets are $29.50-49.50. Call 313-237-7711 or visit www.motorcitycasino.com.
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